Update

Hello!

For anyone concerned about my Slovak, I can tell you that my skill improved quite a lot, especially since I started to use the language in my routine.

Having a few friends you speak just Slovak with was crucial as well and helped me a lot.

I also met some people who helped me a lot at a language school in Bratislava . Their services have been absolutely beneficial.

My current goal is to perfect my speaking: I can quite easily read, write and understand (let’s say 75%) but speaking is still behind (55%).

This is enough to get by, but not ideal.

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Did You Ever Feel Like You Are Not Learning?

It happens quite often to me…

I got used to it and learnt how to cope with it!!!

Since I started learning Slovak it happened at least 3 or 4 times 🙂

It happened maybe because I listened to a native-speakers conversation and didn’t understand a lot from it, or because I made the very same grammar mistake for the 50th time!!!

Still this doesn’t mean anything! Learning a language is process that requires time and doesn’t happen overnight!

It’s perfectly normal to feel stuck and get the feeling of not improving sometimes!

But you are always learning something! Every single minute you spend on studying a language is not wasted, even if you don’t realize it immediately!!!

Of course if you keep on having the same feeling after several months, well…maybe it could be a good idea to re-think your learning method!

One more thing: when you get that bad feeling, try for a while to change the material you use!

For example, stop studying grammar for a while and focus more on listening to podcasts, watching movies or reading articles!

I’m almost sure that the feeling will go away very soon 🙂

P.S: I would like to start posting something written in Slovak every week, so let me know what you think about it 🙂

What Language Can Be a Good Investment?

This is a question many people are asking themselves!

I would start by saying that if you are deciding to study a language just because it can be a good (monetary) investment, there are many chances that you will fail…

Learning a foreign language to a (very) good level, is an activity that requires a lot of dedication and PASSION!

If you are thinking what language could give you a good ROI on the job market, then I believe that Brazilian Portuguese would be a great choice…but if you don’t have any connection with the language (simply put: if you DON’T like it), then probably you will not learn it!

If you want to learn a new language, choose one that you like!

No matter how many people are speaking it, how many countries have it as their official language or what’s their GDP!

The important is that you have at least one VERY good reason to study it!

No matter what language you will choose, if you like it and you enjoy learning it, it will be a good investment!!!

What if I Don’t Feel Like Studying?

It happens! Unfortunately it happens quite often!

Yesterday was one of those days for me: no taste to take my Slovak book, no taste to watch Slovak TV or anything else…

That’s why I decided to do what I like the most and I just spent some time reading Harry Potter in Slovak 🙂

So I didn’t follow my usual routine, but at least I had some contact with the language!

And that’s VERY important!!!

If you like listening to music in your target language, then do it!

If you like watching movies, do it!

I’m sure you have at least one activity you love doing in your target language!

If you don’t…well…I’m afraid learning the language will be very tough!!!

It’s normal to have some days like this, just learn how to deal with them 🙂

Walk/Travel/Wait and Study!!!

I know the title is not very clear!

What I’m going to talk about now it’s a very easy exercise that you can do while doing one of the things mentioned in the title 🙂 I know that many people who are studying a foreign languages do it and I think it’s very useful!

It’s very easy and it will allow you not to waste a single moment when you are commuting to work or walking your dog!

All you have to do is to name in your mind all you see around you!!!

Of course you have to do it in your target language!

For example when you are on the bus, check what other passengers are wearing and try to describe them 🙂 When you are outside in the city, check what is around you: shops, monuments, buildings!

If you will not be able to name one thing, you should write is somewhere and then check it in the dictionary when you will have some time! If you noticed this thing, there are many chances that it could be something common and you will need to know this word!

Hope you liked it!!!

After 2 Months of “Intensive” Slovak!

I would like to explain you how I feel about my Slovak right now!

I think I made some good improvements over this 2 months!

I learned many new words (I think around 600, because I’m usually learning 10-15 new words per day) and thanks to this I can read much more easily than before!

My listening got better and now when I’m watching TV series I can get what is going on in 90% of the situations!

I can write a little bit better, even if I’m still making many mistakes with accents! Still struggling with the word order sometimes 🙂

The biggest improvements are in speaking the language: I forced myself to speak more and this is the only way to get better! The use of declension is getting a little bit easier even it’s still very hard to speak at a normal speed. Two months ago I could hardly order a coffe!!!

Overall I consider myself satisfied and my results are close to what I expected! I was sure I wasn’t going to be fluent after this 2 months!

I would say my level right now is between A2 and B1.

Over the next to months I’m planning to get to a B1 level and then in the last 2 months I will try to get as close as I can to B2!!!

So now it’s time for me to go back to study!!!

A Simple Exercise, Great Results!

Today I would like to talk about something I learned from Luca, the italian polyglot of http://thepolyglotdream.com/! He’s a great language learner, so make sure to check his blog 🙂

In one of his posts, he was suggesting to take dialogues in your target language and translate them in your mother language. Then, after maybe one or more day, you should translate them back from your mother language to the target lnguage!

I’m doing this often and I have to say it helps a lot: first of all you will realize that you missed a lot of details from the dialogue, including vocabulary and grammar.

Furthermore, this exercise helps you to really “produce” your target language.

That’s why I would like to suggest something that is really useful to me:

  1. Take a piece of paper and write down some sentences in your mother language. Everyday phrases or anything that comes to your mind!
  2. Translate them into your target language. Use a dictionary and your grammar book if necessary, but avoid any sort of translator!
  3. Check them with your teacher/friend/native speaker to see if your translations are correct.

It looks very simple but I’m sure very few people are actualy doing this regularly!

This way you will do something that is different from the study you are probably going through usually (reading a dialogue, translating it and memorize some words from it).

Still keep on doing also the normal stuff, of course!

But maybe try to dedicate a few minutes every time you are studying to this exercise and I hope you will get some results.